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In Celebration of Earth Day: Excerpts from student essays on saving our planet

climate change concept: earth clock 3d rendering illustration
When Attorney General T.J. Donovan invited Vermont middle schoolers to participate in an Earth Day Challenge by writing essays on climate change, children from across Vermont submitted their ideas. Participating students included sixth graders from Cheryl Ekland’s class at Calais Elementary and fifth graders from Melissa Greenwood’s class at Crossett Brook in Waterbury. The following are excerpts from their essays. 

“Some people think the world needs us but we really need the world. It gives us food, water, plants, and trees and the trees give us oxygen.”  


“Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Treat people how you want to be treated.’? You should do the same thing for the world.”


“I know that I will not be able to make the world perfect but I want to make the world a lot better than it is now.” 


“If clothes don’t fit any more, donate them to a thrift store. Heck, just buy a lot of your clothes from thrift stores.”


“Y’all know how birds can’t see windows. Did you know that up to one billion die from flying into windows? So why don’t we put stuff on the windows so birds can see them.” 


“They (Vermont and our Earth) have changed drastically in the past 50 to 100 years. We need to slow down climate change so Vermont can get back to being Vermont.” 


“What can you do to slow the effects of climate change? You could switch to solar and wind energy to reduce the amount of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere.”


“In the last ten years over 470 species have gone extinct. And since 1970 we have wiped out around 60% of the animal population.”


“Keeping our oceans healthy also gives us more oxygen because of phytoplankton. These live in the water and give us 70% of our oxygen.” 


“There are 7.9 billion humans on what we like to call “our” Earth. We are seriously overpopulated and we need to stop making so many more kids.” 


“When you go to buy clothes, try going to the Salvation Army … the clothes there are used … so you are helping the world in your own small way.” 


“We have been given an earth to keep us safe and healthy but we’re not keeping it healthy.”  


“Humans are cutting down the rainforest and it’s really bad because the rainforests give the world a lot of oxygen.”


“Living creatures need food, water, and a home. If we destroy the Earth, we will have no more home.”  


“100 billion pieces of clothing are produced in a year and only 15% of them are made of recycled fibers.”


“There’s a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it’s larger than Texas.”  


“The world needs to be a better place and there needs to be more people that will keep the world safe … You could be one of those people.”  


“Just remember, this is our planet and there’s no replacing it.” 


“Vermont is full of natural beauty. I am very lucky to be born and to live in Vermont.”


“If you throw plastic material out of the window, it could make microplastics that could get into our food and get into our body.”


“The Earth gives us life. Earth provides us with the ground to put our feet on. Earth has done nothing but give. It’s time we do something other than take.”   

—Quinn J.

Excerpts from two short stories about animals dealing with human destructiveness:

From “The Rabbit’s View”:

“We were ripped from our burrow and my mama told us to get out … to run away. So I hopped out of the ground before the machine destroyed our home.”


From “The Turtle”:

“I crawl out of my hole and shimmy toward the ocean. I look back thinking, ‘Shouldn’t there be more? … Where are the rest of my siblings?”  


For more examples of student work, go to ago.vermont.gov/2022-attorney-generals-earth-day-essay-challenge-student-essays/